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Posted By Topic » Pharaoh : A must-read for any Aegyptus fan
sandfly
The Wizard of Oz
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Member Since: 12/01/2005
Member: 33
Total Posts: 1467
Posted: Monday, Mar 28, 2011 at 3:47 AM Edited on 2011-03-28 03:53:34.0
I recently finished reading a book by a Polish author which proved to be a facinating "politcal thriller" in a setting of late New Kingdom Egypt.

The book is simply called "Pharaoh" (Polish: Faraon) by Bores?aw Prus (translated into English by Christopher Kaspraek). Published by Polestar-Maccovey, ISBN 83-88177-01-X.

It's the story of a fictional prince, heir to the throne of Ramses XII (the last of the New Kingdom), and the politcal machinations involved in his ascendancy. The prince is militant-minded and a clever strategist, seeking to exceed the accomplishments of Ramses the Great, yet in a time when Egypt lacks the strength to flex it's muscle. The priesthood, fearing a war that may cripple the country, must try to curb the prince's desire for conquest.

The overt and covert measures taken by both factions are absorbing and believable - whilst the prince tries to unravel the mysticism of the priest's rituals, the priests attempt to make the prince understand their deeper meaning. Both sides have goals towards the betterment of the nation, but likewise both are flawed in some aspects of their plans to achieve this.

Thrown into the mix is a strong under-tone of nationalism. By this stage in history, Egypt has become undoubtably mulit-cultural, with the minority cultures bringing symbiotic benefits to the country but introducing a wedge of mistrust and jealousy, which could lead to a greater weakness.

I have tried read historical fiction based on Egypt before, in novels by Christian Jacq, but found them too forced in the way he tried to meld the fiction with the setting. This was not the case in Pharaoh, and it certainly sits in the "hard to put down" category. I think I recall somebody recommending Wilbur Smith's River God on one of the previous forums, but have not read it myself, thus cannot compare to that author in dealing with similar subject matter.

(One point to note however, when comparing authors, is that Prus originally published Faron more that 110 years ago without benefit of the many enlightening archealogical discoveries of the 20th Century - and whatsmore, portrays a rich sense of the setting despite having never even visited there himself.)

Alxbates
The Sundered Phalanges of Doom
Group: Site Member
Member Since: 12/01/2005
Member: 36
Total Posts: 2415
Posted: Thursday, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM
That'd be me who recommended Smith's "River God" - it's so far my favorite piece of Ancient Egyptian-setting fiction (with a very slight taste of the supernatural, increasing with each book, till the third in the series, which is quite magical).

I'll check out Faron! Sounds interesting!

-Alex

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